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The US Supreme Court is currently (2009 Term) considering a dispute between North Carolina and South Carolina over the apportionment of water rights over the Catawba River, which flows between both states.

The instant case is particularly compelling because it also raises the question of whether third-party private interests should be allowed to intervene in disputes between the states.

In South Carolina v. North Carolina, which is currently before the bench, the Special Master appointed by the Court, Kristin Linsley Myles, partner in the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, recommended that Duke Energy Carolinas, the city of Charlotte, N.C., and the Catawba River Supply Project be permitted to participate as parties to the suit because they each had a compelling interest in the outcome.

This decision would benefit North Carolina over South Carolina, and was appealed by South Carolina. The US Solicitor General's office supports South Carolina in the appeal. The concern Chief Justice Roberts raised is whether the intervention of third-party interests would "hijack our original jurisdiction."

The options appear to be observing the rules of civil procedure (which are not binding on the Court in original jurisdiction disputes), following the "rule of permissive intervention," a question Justice Ginsburg raised (but does not appear to advocate); or the Court hearing the case de novo (as new), as argued by South Carolina's counsel. The Court appears to favor the latter approach, although no decision has been made.
The most likely (although certainly not assured) outcome is that the Court will vote to hear the case de novo, rather than set a precedent of allowing private interests to become party to disputes between the states, but permit the interested parties to submit amici (friend of the court briefs).

Justice Ginsburg raised a significant Constitutional point that may resolve the issue, in light of South Carolina's resistance to the intervention: A state "can't be sued without its consent. And it's true here that South Carolina is initiating the action, but it's initiating the action against a sister state. The special master's recommendation would require the state to have as its direct adversary three parties who are not a sister state, and that kind of dilutes the notion of original jurisdiction. It's a controversy between two states."

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Q: When was the last time the US Supreme Court exercised original jurisdiction?
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Continue Learning about American Government

Which courts have both appellate and original jurisdiction?

The U.S. Supreme Court.


Who has original jurisdiction over cases involving ambassadors?

In cases involving ambassadors, it is the Supreme Court of the United States that has original jurisdiction. The Supreme Court was formed in 1789.


In what kinds of cases does the supreme court have original jurisdiction?

The Supreme Court of the United States has federal jurisdiction. The Supreme court can also be used as an appeals court for state and local charges.


The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction for cases involving which officials?

According to Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, the US Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over cases:affecting ambassadors and other public ministers and consulsdisputes between the states (original and exclusive jurisdiction, see 28 U.S.C. § 1251)Currently, the US Supreme Court only exercises original jurisdiction in disputes between the states; per 28 USC § 1251, the Court has concurrent original jurisdiction with the US District Courts over cases involving ambassadors. Congress allocated original jurisdiction over cases involving foreign officials to the US District Courts, because the Supreme Court does not have original and exclusive jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction is shared with the US District Courts.In all other cases the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction.


What statement best defines the original jurisdiction of the US Supreme Court?

Article III of the Constitution describes the class of cases the Supreme Court may hear under original jurisdiction, but Congress determined whether the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction was shared or exclusive. Currently, the Supreme Court only exercises exclusive, original jurisdiction over disputes between the states. Cases involving ambassadors and other other foreign dignitaries are first heard in US District Court.

Related questions

What state court has original jurisdiction?

The United States supreme court is the only court with original jurisdiction of all states. The United States supreme court is a trial court.


What can exercise both original and appellate jurisdiction?

the Supreme Court.


In which does the supreme court have original jurisdiction?

The Supreme Court may have original jurisdiction when the President is being impeached. They might also have original jurisdiction if they are trying to prove a bill is unconstitutional before it becomes a law.


Which courts have both appellate and original jurisdiction?

The U.S. Supreme Court.


In which cases does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction?

The Supreme Court may have original jurisdiction when the President is being impeached. They might also have original jurisdiction if they are trying to prove a bill is unconstitutional before it becomes a law.


What court has only original jurisdicton?

The United States supreme court is the only court with original jurisdiction of all states. The United States supreme court is a trial court.


Which courts have original and appellate jurisdiction?

supreme court


In what kinds of cases does the supreme court original jurisdiction?

In does


Who has original jurisdiction over cases involving ambassadors?

In cases involving ambassadors, it is the Supreme Court of the United States that has original jurisdiction. The Supreme Court was formed in 1789.


In which cases does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction?

The Supreme Court may have original jurisdiction when the President is being impeached. They might also have original jurisdiction if they are trying to prove a bill is unconstitutional before it becomes a law.


What would fall under the original jurisdiction of the supreme court?

Section 2 of Article III of the constitution sates:"In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction."The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases involving two states, and cases involving ambassadors, consuls, or other public ministers.This is not to be confused with appellate jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction is when the court hears the case first. Appellate jurisdiction is when the court hears an appeal from another court of original jurisdiction.


In what kinds of cases does the supreme court have original jurisdiction?

The Supreme Court of the United States has federal jurisdiction. The Supreme court can also be used as an appeals court for state and local charges.